NOVI, Mich. – When someone comes forward to claim the $1 billion Mega Millions prize, they will make history in Michigan.
It will be the biggest lottery jackpot every claimed in the state.
Hundreds of Michiganders have hit it big playing the lottery. According to the Michigan Lottery, more than 400 people have won at least $1 million each, but only a handful have at least $10 million and only six have won at least $100 million until Friday.
In 2005, Mary and Ralph Stebbins won $208 million. The couple took the lump sum, which left them with a little more than $125 million before taxes.
In 2015, Julie Leach bought a Powerball ticket at a Shell Gas station while heading into work. She nearly forgot to check her numbers, but when she did, she discovered she was the winner of a $310 million jackpot.
She said she was so stunned, she had to check with her coworkers to make sure it was real.
“Another one of my coworkers checked and said, ‘Yep, you’re the only winner. Go home,’” Leach recalled.
She quit her job on the spot.
Before Friday’s win, the highest winner was in 2012 when Donald Lawson won $337 million playing Powerball.
“I’ve always wanted to travel and now I can,” Lawson said. “I can go anywhere in the world I want so that’s what I’m going to do.”
He accepted the check with his mom and took the lump sum, walking away with $224 million before taxes.
Under Michigan law, the winner of a multi-state lottery -- like Mega Millions -- has to identify themselves when they win. There was a bill in 2020 that would allow winners to stay anonymous, but it never got off the ground. If the winner knows they’re a winner, the rest of the world will soon know too.
Read More: Lottery News